The Boot Camp is a term picked out of the Army. It is also defined as a programme or situation that helps people become better at doing something in a short period of time. The rapidly changing market dynamics make it inevitable for a sales professional to constantly evolve and get accustomed to the changing sales paradigms and be an asset to the organisation. However, to make it big as a sales professional, there are some basic traits that a sales person needs to cultivate which have remained consistent over time.

Look at the big picture and work to a plan
First and foremost, the sales person has to understand the larger objective behind the sales strategy of the organisation. More than 90% of sales strategies fail due to lack of vision alignment at the sales force level. Sales is not only about selling — it’s about working to a plan. A successful sales professional knows what they want to accomplish and they plan their approach. They make sure their goals are specific, motivational, achievable yet challenging, relevant to their professional situation, and time-defined. They visualise their target, determine how they will achieve their goal, and take action on a daily basis.

Be everything to your customer that you would as their customer expect them to be
A good sales professional is fiercely customer-focused. They work towards understanding the customer’s need and provide a solution and remove their pains and problems. Sales executives that try and sell a product or service to a customer instead of first focusing on understanding what the customer really needs, fail 98% of times in their endeavour. Successful sales professionals are a consultant to their customer’s needs.

The key is persistence
Persistence pays — a mantra that every seasoned and upcoming sales professional swears by. Selling or running a business requires a tremendous amount of persistence. 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least 5 follow-ups. Only 2% of sales occur at the first touch point. The most successful people in any industry have learned to face the obstacles that get in their way. They are tenacious, refuse to give up and constantly look for new solutions.

Stay in the customer’s mind
But before one perseveres, it is pertinent to understand the needs of the client and make the right communication to hit the right chord. Successful sales people know that constant contact helps keep clients, so they use a variety of approaches to accomplish this. They make phone calls and schedule regular ‘keep in touch’ breakfast and lunch meetings. They send articles of value to their customers and send an email newsletter. They are constantly on the lookout for new and creative ways to keep their name in their customers’ minds.

Try something new and innovative — Do not be afraid to fail
Getting used to failure is a major key to success in professional sales. A successful sales professional has to experiment, innovate and explore to achieve excellence in sales. A big move is the first step that a sales person takes towards defining their sales career. Every big move comes with its own fear of having bitten off more than one can chew. Little moves help move a few steps forward. A sales professional needs to have a healthy mix of little moves to keep them improving and big moves to help them make the changes that define their career and life.

Build knowledge and capability
The qualities of an evolving sales person involve exposure and evolution across multiple domains, knowledge transfer and skill building within their own organisations and knowledge transfer to the customer. It helps to deploy the right people, with the right message, at the right time, to the right customers. Also, there is a need to think about knowledge transfer internally. For example, while a sales person may not have the depth of knowledge and understanding to drive a specific solution sale today, or to deliver certain types of insights, there is a need to think how they can build their skills, over time.

Build and leverage network
While a sales person may have a stack of visiting cards and a burgeoning database, but it’s of no use if that network is not leveraged and built upon. The bottom line is not how many people a sales person knows, but how many people know the sales person. With proliferation of social media, it’s become both, easy and challenging to stay connected with the right content and network of clients.

Ethics and credibility
Trust is the most significant part of every professional sales relationship. To earn and deserve the customer and their trust, sales professionals must always honour their commitment. Trust is also built on a principle of maintaining transparency and ethical conduct at all times. A successful sales professional never compromises on the principle of ethics even if it puts them at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace.

Courtsey Times Ascent